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Why did Kody Brown and Christine Brown of 'Sister Wives' break up?

The former couple, who star on TLC's reality series "Sister Wives," announced they were breaking up in 2021 after over 25 years of plural marriage.
Kody Brown and Christine Brown
After the breakup, Christine moved her youngest daughter to Salt Lake City to start a new life. Gabe Ginsberg / FilmMagic

"Sister Wives" viewers have been following the ups and downs of Kody Brown's marriages with multiple women since the hit reality show premiered on TLC in 2010.

Now back for its 17th season, the show is currently chronicling the breakup between Kody and his wife of over 25 years, Christine Brown.

The former couple, who were part of a plural marriage, shares six children: Aspyn, Mykelti, Gwendlyn, Ysabel, Paedon and Truely. Kody had four wives at one point. The 53-year-old is no longer with Christine or first wife Meri Brown, but is still married to Robyn and Janelle Brown.

As the show takes viewers into the former couple's marital woes this season, the following series of events help shed some light on why Kody and Christine broke up.

The couple announced their breakup on Instagram in 2021

On Nov. 2, 2021, Christine took to Instagram to announce her separation from Kody.

“After more than 25 years together, Kody and I have grown apart and I have made the difficult decision to leave. We will continue to be a strong presence in each other’s lives as we parent our beautiful children and support our wonderful family,” she wrote.

In response, Kody shared his own statement on Instagram, writing, “Christine’s decision to leave comes with a great deal of sadness. We enjoyed many years together and I have a large amount of respect and admiration for her. Although we are moving forward on different paths, we will always remain committed parents.”

Season 16 of "Sister Wives" set the tone for the couple's breakup

In the Season 16 finale of "Sister Wives," which aired in Feb. 2022, Christine contemplated ending her relationship with Kody after he suggested they could have a "romance-free" marriage. She subsequently kicked him out of her bedroom.

“The intimate part of our marriage is over. And to be honest, I’m not okay with that. I’m not okay with staying in a marriage where there’s no intimacy. That’s not a real marriage. I’m not interested in a half marriage or a partial marriage or whatever we have,” Christine said in the episode.

The 'Sister Wives' Season 17 premiere shows Christine and Kody discussing their intimacy issues

The Season 17 premiere shows Kody and Christine discussing where their marriage went wrong, with a big focus on their intimacy issues.

At one point, Christine says that she no longer desires an intimate relationship with Kody because he's made it clear that he isn't interested in one either.

“A couple times a year doesn’t work for a marriage,” Christine said, referring to their sex life. In response, Kody said, “You say, ‘A couple times a year. It feels like an accusation.”

Christine claims that Kody favors one of his wives, Robyn

Christine revealed in the Season 17 premiere that she believes Kody has a "favorite wife:" Robyn Brown, his fourth and newest wife, who joined their plural marriage in 2014. (Kody is legally married to Robyn, but says he is "spiritually" married to the other women.)

“That’s just what it comes down to. I think he has a favorite wife and that’s why all of this is like it is," she said.

Meanwhile, Kody feels that Christine hasn't made a proper effort to get along with his other wives.

“You never tried to have a really good relationship with these other people, and that’s the reason I’m p---ed off,” he said. “It’s just a knife in the kidney, after all the years, the sacrifices I made to love you.”

Season 17 of "Sister Wives" has yet to show Robyn's response to Christine's comments.

Christine claims their marriage problems date back several years, but Kody disagrees

In the Season 17 premiere, Christine suggests that she and Kody had marital issues while she was pregnant with their youngest child, Truely, in 2010.

“I was overwhelmed with everything,” she explained and said she asked for Kody for help at the time. In response, he said, "I can’t do that. I’m in other houses.”

During the conversation, Kody denies her interpretation of events. Kody says he was trying to balance multiple families.

"As I look back on this and analyze what she was saying, she wasn’t (fair) with other wives. She was wanting more. She was asking for stuff that I couldn’t give her because I had other wives.”

Kody has a different view of the situation

In a "Sister Wives One-on-One" special that aired on TLC in Feb. 2022, Kody offered his own take on the breakup, as reported by E! News. Kody said he gave up on fixing their relationship after hearing rumors.

The reality star said his children had suggested that Christine was going to break up with him, which made him less inclined to work on their intimacy issues.

“I was at a point where I wanted her to address the rumors that I’ve been hearing from the kids,” he said, “that she was threatening to leave.”

Rather than address the rumors directly with Christine, Kody explained that he ignored the issue in the hopes that it would eventually resolve itself.

“FOMO. Fear of missing out. If we really have this conversation, how frank are we going to get? I don’t want her to leave,” he said at the time.

Christine says she’s 'happier' since leaving her marriage

In August 2022, Christine told People that she’s “happier” and her “whole world has changed” after leaving her marriage.

In the interview, she revealed that she had actually started questioning polygamy in 2018.

“I started thinking maybe this isn’t working for me,” she said. “And then I stopped believing in polygamy. I realized I didn’t really want to live it anymore. I didn’t like sharing a husband or feeling like I wasn’t important.”

Now living in Utah, Christine has said she's open to dating again

Christine, who moved to Salt Lake City with Truely after leaving Kody, told People that she's open to the idea of dating in the future.

“I would love to date. Love the idea of the end having a romantic partner. But I talked to Truely about it the other day and she’s like, ‘Mom, I really like our life how it is now.’ Down the road. I’m just going to let fate take care of that one." she said.

Monogamy is the name of the game for the mother of six from here on out and she said she wants a guy who "actually loves me and wants to be with me intimately.”